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DrupalCon Boston 2008 - Creating Custom Workflows for Drupal Applications

Jeff Miccolis
Young Hahn
design and user experience
Session Description:

This presentation will show how simplifying workflow and limiting user choice can lead to improved usability. I will begin by outlining the user story of a complex news aggregation system, Managing News, and show how clearly defined user stories can lead to a simple site architecture. I will then discuss how to pare down the complexity of Drupal’s “default” architecture using several approaches.

We will look at using core hooks familiar to novice Drupal developers to improve workflow (hooknodeapi, hookformalter, hookinit, etc.). We will also examine some initial stabs at what it might mean to define a “context” in Drupal, and how this concept can greatly improve usability and simplify code.

Finally, we will examine scenarios where vertical integration in UI development is crucial — where finding a balance between performance, design, features, and user constraints is best reached by being able to adjust all parts of the system.


* A quick technical overview of our case study Drupal app, Managing News
* A rundown of potential user stories, the ones that matter most, and the site design that best captures the most important workflows
* How Drupal’s core hooks can help affect user workflow and usability
* Filling in the gaps — what is context? How can context be used to improve site navigation, structure, and usability?Examples of how one implementation of a context module can solve the small nagging problems in Drupal’s usability.
* If there is time, some stories about vertical integration in UI development — when developing large-scale applications, design meets usability meets performance.

Introduce designers and site builders to crafting strong user workflows, and the pieces in Drupal that they’ll need to do it. I would also like to get Drupal developers discussing context, what it means, and what a good solution will look like.

Learn more about Managing News (the FeedAPI powered team news aggregator) here:

Audio/Visual sound, color


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